A filmmaker who was affected by the Noto earthquake What is the image of Suzu that he wanted to convey in his film?

On May 5, 2023, Suzu City, Ishikawa Prefecture, was hit by an Noto earthquake with a magnitude of 6 or above, causing damage, with more than 300 buildings completely or partially destroyed. Filmmaker Hisashi Arima (36) from Machida City, Tokyo, was traveling to the disaster area with the intention of making a documentary film about the people making their way to recovery through the Suzu festival. In the midst of this, we encountered the Noto Peninsula earthquake in January of this year.

A filmmaker who was affected by the Noto earthquake What is the image of Suzu that he wanted to convey in his film?

It started with the shooting of Kiriko.

 The movie is “Nagi ga Tomoru Koro.” As a traditional summer event in the Noto region, the Kiriko Festival is held in which large lanterns, some weighing about 4 tons and over 15 meters in height, are paraded around. Kiriko means this lantern.

Arima was approached about making a film by an acquaintance who was volunteering in Suzu, and he began filming in late May 2013. At first, the residents were unsure whether to hold the festival, but as the time approached, they gradually came together.

A filmmaker who was affected by the Noto earthquake What is the image of Suzu that he wanted to convey in his film?

 In August and September, Mr. Arima closely followed three districts of the city and filmed residents valiantly cruising through Kiriko. “Everyone was taking the festival seriously. I could feel the atmosphere of the town changing through the festival.”

 I returned to Suzu on December 28th to photograph the year-end and New Year holidays, which were beginning to regain their brightness. I took pictures of residents ringing the bell on New Year’s Eve and making hatsumode visits on New Year’s Day.

Sudden big tremor

After 4pm that day, I was taking a nap at a private house in the city between filming. A sudden shake caused her to jump and start rolling the camera.

 Immediately afterwards, an even stronger tremor hit. The building creaked and the sound of tiles falling and shattering echoed. Feeling in danger, I ran outside.

 The ground moves like a living thing. Dust flies up when a building collapses. What caught my eye was an unbelievable sight.

 Afterwards, they evacuated to higher ground by car and spent the night there.

A filmmaker who was affected by the Noto earthquake What is the image of Suzu that he wanted to convey in his film?

 The next day, the second day, I walked through the Takojima-cho area of ​​Suzu City along the coast. Most of the buildings in the area had collapsed and were in a state of ruin. “What will happen to the city?” A feeling of despair welled up.

 That night, I evacuated to an elementary school that had been turned into an evacuation center and made rice balls with the disaster victims. Under the light of a flashlight, we cooked rice in a pot and rice we had brought with us and handed it out to each person. I ate one myself. “It was a difficult time for everyone, but I’m grateful that they kindly accepted outsiders.”

A movie that conveys the reality of the disaster area

I returned to Tokyo on January 14th, about a week later than originally planned, and immediately began full-scale editing work.

 Many of the cityscapes and landscapes I had photographed over and over again were severely damaged and lost in the recent earthquake. During this time, I was worried about how to proceed with film production and felt depressed.

 It was during an additional week of filming in Suzu in late March. “At times like this, we have to bring out Kiriko.” Residents affected by the disaster were talking about this summer’s festival. “These are the people of Suzu. We need to do our best,” the residents encouraged us.

 Although he is currently busy with work toward completion, he remains positive, saying, “I was the only one who filmed everything from last year’s festival to this year’s earthquake.I’m the only one who can complete the movie.”

 The film will be released in advance at a preview screening in Kanazawa for disaster victims in June. “Although it may not be a work that shows hope, I hope it will be an encouragement to many people by conveying the reality of the disaster-stricken areas and letting them know that there are people who will not give up even when faced with hardships.” [Abe Hiroken]

A village in Ishikawa/Suzu has zero deaths from the tsunami; the password that saved residents’ lives

 The Shimode district of Jike, Misaki-cho, Suzu City, Ishikawa Prefecture, where residents testify that the tsunami reached the levee about 25 minutes after the Noto Peninsula earthquake occurred. Although the village is lined with private houses along the coast, there were no fatalities due to the tsunami as the residents quickly evacuated to a meeting place on higher ground. “If anything happens, there’s a meeting place.” A password shared by the entire village saved the lives of the residents.

 Approximately 40 households and 80 people live in the area. Just before the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011, Yushin Okuhama (73), a certified disaster prevention officer, and Masahiro Demura, 76, the mayor of the ward, began forming a voluntary disaster prevention organization and planning evacuation drills. Okuhama recalls, “My senior objected to me, saying, “What’s the point in training for the impossible?” but I persuaded him, “Since my house is on the beach, it’s an issue that I can’t avoid.” The district was divided into four groups, and each group was assigned a guide, care worker, etc. For more than 10 years, each group has been conducting annual drills to evacuate by taking the shortest route, with the motto, “If something happens, come to the meeting place.”

 The results of this effort were demonstrated in this earthquake. “Even though my legs were bad, I climbed the slope desperately.” Hisae Nitta, 83, evacuated with his childhood friend Sachiko Wakasa, 82, and laughed, saying, “It might only take five minutes from home.” Nobuko Takeuchi (53), who was in the living room of her girlfriend’s home after her bath, was panicking, but said, “In the back of her mind, she was thinking, “Once the shaking stops, I’ll go to the meeting place.” ”. When she found a gap in the collapsed house and slipped out barefoot, she started talking to five or six people in the neighborhood…

Local treasure, lantern, washed away by tsunami; 18-year-old vows to “revive it” Noto Earthquake

The Noto Peninsula earthquake, which caused extensive damage, also caused serious damage to the festivals that have been passed down in the region. In Suzu City, Ishikawa Prefecture, which was hit by the tsunami, the huge lanterns unique to Noto called “Kiriko” that are carried during festivals were washed away and damaged. “I don’t think I can recover anymore.” Residents whose daily lives were cut off by the earthquake have been robbed of their emotional support and are feeling a deepening sense of loss.

 ”It still doesn’t make sense that Kiriko was washed away. I haven’t gone to see it because it makes me sad.” Masaru Terayama (61), a cormorant fisherman in Horyu-cho, Suzu City, who carried Kiriko at the summer festival, hung his head. He says that the tsunami washed away the kiriko in his area, which he had stored in a warehouse near the sea.


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